[Archivesspace_Users_Group] Revised Proposal for Container Management Enhancements - Call for Community Input

Wendler, Robin King robin_wendler at harvard.edu
Wed Dec 18 12:16:59 EST 2019

Hi, Rachel,
     Thank you very much for your feedback. I’ve added your comments to the tickets for these issues and we’ll be sure to account for them.

One person expressed concern adding a Notes field to Top Container records when the proposal went out last year. The Notes field is a candidate for adding as a plug-in, so we’ll take a look at that.

I’m curious whether there were others of these proposals that would particularly help you, or if there are minor changes to any that would make them more valuable.  I’d welcome any further thoughts.

Thanks again,

From: archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org <archivesspace_users_group-bounces at lyralists.lyrasis.org> On Behalf Of Rachel Aileen Searcy
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 12:21 PM
To: Archivesspace Users Group <archivesspace_users_group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>
Subject: Re: [Archivesspace_Users_Group] Revised Proposal for Container Management Enhancements - Call for Community Input

Hi Robin,

We wanted to provide some comments to this proposal for enhancements to ArchivesSpace’s container management functionality. We’d like to thank Harvard for their efforts to put this together to make ArchivesSpace a more useful system for the broader community. We are also a large, multi-repository institution with a single ArchivesSpace instance, and have encountered many of the challenges outlined in this document, although we do operate slightly differently (for example, our locations are shared across our repositories to make the best use of the space we have).

We too have found it difficult to browse, filter, and sort through our large number of location records, especially when linking top containers to locations, and support the improvements specified in this document to more efficiently perform these tasks. We would appreciate the ability to return to an existing top container search, but would not want to sacrifice overall system performance for this feature. While the ability to merge locations would be useful in cleaning up obsolete or duplicate locations, we wonder if the logic required to create this functionality might be more complicated than other merging in the system, as there are currently measures in place to ensure that locations cannot be deleted while holdings are linked to them. We think this logic should remain in place to prevent deleting important data.

We might not use many of the proposed enhancements (e.g., barcodes for container children, repositories for container profiles) but as long as they are optional and unobtrusive to users who do not employ them, we do not have strong feelings. We do have concerns about the proposal to add a Note field to the Top Container record, especially without a compelling use case to justify its inclusion, as there is such a high likelihood of this field being misused to record information about the contents of a box (as opposed to the container itself) more appropriate for specific EAD fields. It reminds us of boxes that have labels with crucial information about the materials inside that is not documented anywhere else, and we wouldn’t want to encourage that type of practice. If there are compelling use cases for this field, we’d prefer values to be controlled so that they can be structured, queried, and used somewhat consistently.

Again, thank you for developing this proposal and continuing the conversation. We’re eager to see how this work continues.

Best wishes,


On Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 1:19 PM Wendler, Robin King <robin_wendler at harvard.edu<mailto:robin_wendler at harvard.edu>> wrote:

Dear ArchivesSpace Community,

The Harvard Library has been reviewing container and location management functionality in ArchivesSpace and we are proposing to make enhancements to this functionality that we would like to contribute to the core code. With these enhancements, we hope to make finding, viewing, and updating information related to containers and locations in the staff interface more efficient and effective.

Some of you may remember a proposal we distributed this time last year. A variety of factors delayed the work, so we have significantly revised the proposal based on the valuable feedback provided by the ArchivesSpace community and informed by Harvard archivists’ increasing experience with container management in ArchivesSpace. Some proposals have been removed, while others have been added or altered.

Additions include

  *   Return to Top Container search results from viewing an individual Top Container record
  *   Bulk or batch function to create new Top Containers, associate existing Locations with them, and link them to multiple existing archival objects.
  *   Bulk operation to delete barcodes from Top Containers
  *   File-upload function to add Locations to Top Containers
  *   Ability to merge Location records

The most significant changes to previous proposals include the following:

  *   The proposed additional indicator fields and ILS Bibliographic Record ID field in Top Containers have been removed.
  *   The proposed Note field and Inactive checkbox for Locations, along with all functionality associated with inactive status, have been removed.
  *   Automatic scoping of Container Profiles, Locations, and Location Profiles by repository appears to be too complex, given the community request to make repositories repeatable and the desire for it to be an installation configuration option. In lieu of that, the revised proposal adds a repeatable, optional repository field to container profiles and adds a facet for filtering by repository to browse results for Container Profiles and Locations.
  *   Proposed functionality around Location status has been removed

The revised draft proposal is attached to this email and we are asking for community review and feedback. The proposal includes the rationale for the changes, a list of database fields to be added, user stories describing the specific changes we are proposing, and mockups of the related updates to the staff interface. Please note that the proposal represents a superset of the work we may be able to complete in the next couple of months, and that not all the proposed changes will be addressed at this time. Another caveat: some of the desiderata require further technical design that will determine what approach will be taken. These will be investigated in consultation with Lyrasis ArchivesSpace staff.

If you have questions or feedback, please email me at robin_wendler at harvard.edu<mailto:robin_wendler at harvard.edu>. We will be accepting comments through Wednesday, December 18, 2019.

We look forward to receiving community input.



Robin Wendler

Library Technology Services

Harvard University

90 Mt. Auburn St.

Cambridge, MA 02138



r_wendler at harvard.edu<mailto:r_wendler at harvard.edu>

Robin Wendler
Library Technology Services
Harvard University
90 Mt. Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
r_wendler at harvard.edu<mailto:r_wendler at harvard.edu>

Archivesspace_Users_Group mailing list
Archivesspace_Users_Group at lyralists.lyrasis.org<mailto:Archivesspace_Users_Group at lyralists.lyrasis.org>

Rachel Searcy
Accessioning Archivist, Archival Collections Management
New York University Libraries
212.998.2539 | rachel.searcy at nyu.edu<mailto:rachel.searcy at nyu.edu>
My pronouns are she/her
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